Thursday, May 27, 2010

What if...

Mr. B will soon be enjoying an online revision class, with the goal of whipping his 2009 NaNoWriMo novel into a more pleasing form. I'm a little jealous, but the thought of working on my NaNos has always made me slightly queasy. I guess I'm more of the love-em-and-leave-em type when it comes to my stories.

But his preps for the class got me at least thinking about my abandoned masterpieces, and I finally nutted up enough to read through my 2008 effort. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit it was the first time I had opened the doc since I finished cleaning it up almost a year and a half ago. Got through it, and you know what? It wasn't as bad as I remembered. I might like to work on it again... someday. Someday far, far in the future.

What about my 2009 effort? Well, let's say by the time I hit 50K on that one I was extremely discouraged and had no intention of ever looking at it again. But what they say about idle hands, too much free time at work, and all that really is true -- the other day I succumbed and spent most of the afternoon flinching my way through it. The storyline was just as weak and contrived as I remembered, but there were some nice scenes, especially toward the end. Not sure if it's worth salvaging, but at least I'm not afraid of it any more.

So what about 2010? Will I go for three in a row? It is getting to be time to start thinking about such things, I suppose. The notion appeals to me, but I have had absolutely NO luck in coming up with anything resembling a storyline.

Until today. (grin)

I was scanning my spam folder on Yahoo and found one of those classic spam emails from some poor fool, promising to share some percentage of a ridiculous sum of money with me if I would only please, please help him. The wording was so odd it made me laugh. Which got me thinking, what if it was actually sent by aliens? The off-world kind, not the "stay the hell away from Arizona" kind.

Folks, I think the dusty old light bulb over my head is developing a faint glow!

All I have to come up with is a main character, and a reason for him/her/it to respond to the email, and then I just have to wait for November to see what happens next. Easy, right?

You know, it's kind of like childbirth. It's been just long enough since the last one that I've forgotten how painful the process really is. Just as nature intended.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yesterday's big news!

From The Daily Minutiae*

* Fooled you! Not a real newspaper. Create your own clipping here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just call me Sunshine

I got an award! Bev has honored me, Ms. Crabby Pants Sour Puss McBoringly Boringster, with a Sunshine Award.

Have to admit, even thinking of me and sunshine in the same sentence made me snort my coffee. Can't say as I've been especially sunshine-y lately. (read: since I can remember.)

Why did she choose me? Ummm....I must give good comment. I am, nonetheless, flattered.

I always enjoy reading about Bev's antics and she makes me smile. I think if I was blogging 15 years ago, my blog would be a lot like hers (read: entertaining.) If we lived within driving distance I would like to go out for an adult beverage with Bev, although there's no way I could keep up as she apparently still has a functioning liver.

It's customary to pass on these awards to fellow bloggy pals, but I don't really have any (except Bev).

I really need to get out more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Money where my mouth is

You're wondering how that whole acupuncture thing has been going, haven't you? Well, it's been a real interesting week.

The second poking was fine, my mood continues to be better than it has been in, oh, a l-o-n-g time, and my sinuses and lower back actually feel better. Apparently that indicates acupuncture will work for me, which they tell me isn't always the case. There is some percentage of folks that just don't respond. Mighty big of them to admit it up front, I thought.

Last night, at the third sticking/consult, I learned the details of The Plan: what they say they need to do to make me better, how long it will take, and (gulp!) how much it will cost.

I knew it was going to be a chunk, but golly! Even with my insurance benefits figured in, it was enough to shock me. But again, they knew exactly what they were doing: They saved the sticker shock (ha!) for after the sticking while the flood of endorphins was rushing around my body. OK, I admit, I was high, and that amused Mr. B to no end. I had brought him with me just in case they tried to sell me some ranch land in Arizona while I was transfixed by the pleasing symmetry of the pattern of acoustic tiles on the ceiling. I will not lie, it felt pretty good. And it's legal! Who knew?

Anyway, The Plan says it will take thirty-six treatments over five months, plus Chinese herbs (not covered by insurance). Sure, I have doubts. It's a hell of a lot of money, which I chose to pay up front to get the maximum discount. But based on the little I know, the two things going on in my body right now that scare me the most seem pretty likely to be healed by this treatment. That kicks Western medicine's scrawny white ass. Western medicine doesn't even pretend to have anything to help solve those problems.

Plus, if I decide to stop treatment, they will refund the unused portion of my money. Can't lie, that promise lubricated the decision-making process quite a bit.

What can I expect for my money? Theoretically, the bone in my jaw will heal and the swelling in my ankles and legs will resolve. But best of all, my mood and energy level will climb back into the functional range. That alone is almost worth it. I should even lose some weight, which has gotten to be quite an embarrassing problem in the last year or so. I'm not looking to fit into my 25-year-old skinny jeans again, but the last time I weighed this much, I was pregnant. That shit has GOT to cease.

So tonight I have my herbal consult. They will provide me with my first bottle of custom-blended Chinese herbal medicine, affectionately known as dirt. And then the games begin!

Hell, if this works as advertised, I might even begin posting funny stuff again. Wouldn't that be a treat?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More to the point

Yeah, as you can probably tell, I've been struggling. I've been trying to figure out what to do about a particularly unfriendly diagnosis by the TMJ doc. Long story short, I now know more about my left mandibular condyle than any sane person should. It's not life-threatening, but it kinda freaked me the hell out. Just a little.

OK, a lot.

So the TMJ doc gave me the option of spending $3000 or $6000 for a course of treatment that a few searches of the interwebs told me may or may not resolve my primary issue. Yes, they require payment up front. No, they don't bill insurance.

Hmmm. The doc has a good reputation and all, but, um, no. At least, not without checking out other options first. So what to do? From the sound of it, I really ought not to leave this untreated, even if there's very little pain.


Once I stopped freaking out about it, I realized it seems to be a healing issue. I'd heard acupuncture is good for that so I called the acupuncture people down the street.

It helps that my insurance actually has an acupuncture benefit.

First, the free consult. I filled out a form listing my top four complaints (only four?!?). The guy read my pulse and asked me some questions, then said he was confident they could help me.

Oh, they have quite a system at the acupuncture clinic, which they say is the largest in the US. The girl at the front desk grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and dropped me right into the New Patient pipeline: Five visits, which must be scheduled in a two-week period.

Tuesday was Day One, an exhaustive review of my medical history, which only left me even more depressed. It blows to be reminded that the last five or six years have been pretty sucky, health-wise. I've always been proud of my resilience (thanks, Protestant Ancestors!) but somewhere along the way it fell off or I used it all up or something. I realized I've lost that innate sense that if I rub enough dirt into it and walk it off, it'll get better. That made me sad.

Yesterday -- Day Two -- was a one-hour group lesson on TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), where we learned that (apparently) the language that Westerners use to describe it were mistranslated from the original texts. Forget 'energy' and 'meridians'; it's all about increasing blood flow throughout the body so the body can heal itself. And not just my jaw, mind you, but ALL my complaints will disappear once the appropriate blood flow is restored and the body has a chance to do what it does. Oh yes, and there will probably be nasty-tasting Chinese herbs (not covered by insurance). I'm as big a sucker for magical thinking as the next middle-aged white female, and there was just enough reality scattered in there for me to feel like this actually just might work.

After the pep talk, we were taken to separate rooms and stuck for the first time. The goal was to see how well I react to the treatments, so I was told to 'pick a pain'. The practitioner would treat that pain to see if it would resolve. Somewhere along the way I had popped a nasty headache that had sucked up all my attention. It seemed as good a pain as any.

Most of the needles went in without a problem, with only a slight stinging or 'sensation', but she stuck one at the base of my right thumb that WAS NOT HAPPY. After a very long tooth-sucking minute to see if it calmed down, that one came out. I don't know what the hell she hit, but I felt that fucker for the rest of the evening. But I digress.

Once I was porcupined and relieved of my glasses and watch, I was left to stew in my own juices for an hour or so. I relaxed as best I could, and I'm pretty good, but the headache just wouldn't recede. It ebbed and flowed, as if the Forces of Light were trying to beat off (heh) the Forces of Dimness but just couldn't quite get their shit together. But I got to lay down for an hour with no one asking me anything and that alone was pretty nice.

After what was probably close to an hour, just long enough for me to get anxious about being forgotten, she returned and pulled out the needles. I hated to report no joy, but it didn't seem to phase her. She just told me to keep an eye on my symptoms and note what changed and when. I was a little disappointed, but not enough to abandon hope.

I headed home, and was surprised to note I was in a better mood than I was before. And you know what? By the time I got home, I was feeling... better, somehow, even though the headache was still there. Hard to describe, but for the first time in weeks (months?) my outlook was just a tad lighter. Things didn't seem quite as hopeless. I almost felt resilient!

The headache, however, wasn't playing that. I finally had to surrender and throw some ibuprofen at it so I could sleep.

When I got up this morning I almost felt perky. The headache is still lurking back there (could be the jaw thing, could be hormones, could be sinuses - who knows?) but on a very basic level I FEEL better.

You know, there just may be some value to poking your body into releasing a shot of endorphins. I mean, look! I'm writing a blog post! Now if they can just get my jawbone to grow back....

Day Three, aka the second sticking, is this evening, with two more stickings next week. Then they will tell me how long it will take to make me all better and what it will cost.

And that, I'm guessing, is when I'll decide how much feeling better is really worth.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Is it just me?

Anyone else out there feeling a little overwhelmed? I mean, what with the volcanoes, flooding, oil spills, and the regular household "It's Always Something" crap that tends to pile up... yeah, I'm feeling it. And it's freaking distracting.

I know, I still owe you an IOM post. But when I get overwhelmed, there's not much writing that gets done, so I'll leave it to the professionals and give you the link to our fifteen minutes of fame. Yes, we had a REPORTER there!

Cool, huh? It's good to know my grocery store cake decorating skills haven't gone to waste. Oh, it was quite the Big Hairy Deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that I came home six pounds heavier. Most of it went away, but not all.

(Oh yeah, you can add that to the FML list.)

I do kinda wish the article had included a link to my blog, but then I would just feel more guilty for not writing.

Speaking of which, one excuse reason I haven't written is that every time I try, I end up whining. Somehow, despite my best intentions, I have found myself AGAIN in the position of having a complicated (but not serious) medical problem that will, one way or another, require multiple visits and twelves of dollars to manage.

So... should I indulge myself? Have you had enough of my whining about shoulders and scalps (although that wasn't mine) and proCEEdures? Should I just STFU and wait until the dust clears? Or should I just let 'er rip?